Advance reader reviews of Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin.

Baking Cakes in Kigali

By Gaile Parkin

Baking Cakes in Kigali
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2009,
    320 pages.

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There are currently 18 member reviews
for Baking Cakes in Kigali
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  • Eva R. (Westmont, IL)


    African Delight
    The well crafted characters in this wonderful story stay with you. The book describes everyday life, friendships, history, and struggles. It's a read from a writer who delights and provokes thought about a place that most of us Americans know nothing about. It's a book that would have much to discuss for book groups. I will pass this book on as a GREAT read.
  • Barbara B. (Alta Loma, CA)


    Baking Cakes in Kigali
    I love to bake and I love to eat cake and I love learning and reading stories about Africa, so I knew Baking Cakes in Kigali had to be a recipe for a great read and I was not disappointed.

    All of the characters were delightful and I enjoyed the way Angel, the cake baker, engaged her customers to tell their stories over a cup of tea and a cupcake. The fact that these stories were based on real stories made the book especially interesting. It is hard to read about genocide and poverty, but Parkin's characters overcame their tragedies.

    Angel, is middle aged and she dealt with issues many people deal with such as raising grandchildren, the change & even AIDS. I was wishing recipes had been at the end of the book. I was hungry for cake!
  • Becky H., children's librarian (Chicago, Illinois)


    Don't miss this one!
    Angel, a Tanzanian living in Rwanda after the genocide, bakes cakes for celebrations. The book seems at first to be a gentle tale but slowly reveals the darker, yet uplifting, side of everyday life. Frequently funny, Baking Cakes is filled with wisdom, unforgettable characters and situations and, throughout, an indomitable spirit. Written with empathy and clarity and an obvious love of Africa and African culture,. this one will stay with you a long time. A book to read and re-read and then pass on.
  • Kathryn M. (Bethel, CT)


    Great Summer Read
    Angel Tungaraza and her family live in a compound in Rwanda among many expatriates. Angel brings together, is touched and touches, the lives of many as she meets with her fellow expatriates and shares their stories to make them the most wonderful, beautiful cakes. I had some trouble in the very beginning finding Angel's voice, but once I got past that I enjoyed the book, found the shared stories and revelations insightful and would recommend this book. Definitely a great book club book.
  • Denice B. (Fort Bragg, CA)


    Baking Cakes in Kigali
    This is an engaging, episodic story, even though at times a little contrived with the dropping of buzz topics (feminism, lesbianism, AIDS, circumcision,). Although she is reminiscent of Alexander McCall Smith's lady detective, this book's Angel Tungaraza stands as her own person. Her wisdom and straightforward approach to life are worth adopting.
  • Jennifer W. (Mamaroneck, NY)


    Baking Cakes in Kigali
    I enjoyed reading a novel set in Rwanda, and it was very easy to warm to the main character, Angel, and the positive message of reconciliation, however, the plotting was rather weak resulting in somewhat static characters. The great joy of a novel for a reader is the opportunity to vicariously witness change, growth and transformation while you are in the author's charge. In this story I couldn't shake the sensation of ending up right where we started 300 plus pages earlier. While it was a pleasant journey, it wasn't an all-together compelling one.
  • Julie R. (Jefferson, ME)


    Cakes and conversations in Africa
    Angel Tungaraza, main character of Baking cakes in Kigale, serves her customers by baking cakes to bring them pleasure and by offering personal advice to solve their problems. Over a cup of tea, with wit and wisdom, she seeks out her customers' needs, but slyly suggests her own ideas to create the best cakes. Her conversations include health issues, affairs of state, women's rights and problems of the heart - always with regard to suggesting a possible solution to a customer's dilemma.

    I was most impressed with the author's success at portraying the Rwandans' attempts to create solutions for current political and social problems while maintaining their traditions. This book entertains, but also details how the African has experienced genocide, corrupt government and AIDS and yet survives to develop a daily life of tradition imbued with responsibility, joy, mirth and caring. Creating cakes with conversations - a clever maneuver to acquaint the reader with a part of present day Africa.
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